of Iron Furnaces in Hanging Rock Iron Region
By Richard Leive
Note from The Olde Forester:
Please read and think about, then do something to help preserve
the existing Hanging Rock Iron Region Nineteen stone stack furnaces still
in existence--in various stages of decay as Richard Lieve describes below.
He has examined these stacks several times, made an excellent video which
he will provide for cost, and makes recommendations he earnestly hopes
will be acted upon by responsible owners. He gave the following report
in the Fall of the year 2000.
Richard Leive report:
We have, in the past, talked about the importance of trying to preserve
the old Charcoal Iron Furnace Stacks that are still in existence. Nineteen
of those old forest sentinels have survived for over one-hundred years,
but are now in varying conditions of deterioration due to the effects of
weather, tree roots and other foliage, and vandalism. Some of the existing
stacks are located on private property and some are on public lands.
Some are located in excluded areas while others are located in view of
well traveled highways. Hope Furnace and Vesuvius Furnace have been
preserved in public parks and Buckeye Furnace has
been restored by the Ohio Historical Society. In working from north
to south, I will try to give an account of the various condition of each
furnace stack which Norm Murphy and I have documented on a six hour video
account of our research.
Hope Furnaceis being maintained in fairly good condition at the Lake Hope State
Park. Lincoln Furnace, off State Route 32, still has the sandstone base
intact, but the cut stone has been removed from the top.
Furnace is located on land owned by Mead Timber, Inc. Part
of the stack still remains and the foundation for the engine house can
still be seen. Flues for the hot blast house are still visible in
the boiler area. The most important vintage at the Vinton site is
the battery of Belgian Coke Ovens which may be the only ovens of this type
in the entire world. Those ovens are threatened by tree roots and
other foliage. I would urge the Mead Company to remove the trees
growing on the ovens and to use a herbicide spray to eliminate further
growth of foliage.
Furnace is rather inaccessible except by 4WD drive vehicles or by
walking the railroad track for approximately one mile. The furnace
stack is in fair condition and still has the firebrick liner intact. The
area seems to be used for party events and is being overrun by ATV vehicles.
Buckeye Furnace has been restored by the Ohio Historical Society.
It has an authentic company store and manager's house. The rates
to view the site are very reasonable.
Furnace is located on private property. Permission should
be obtained by the landowner to visit the site. The furnace is in
good condition, however, it also is invaded by foliage during summer months.
It has a solid sandstone base.
Limestone Furnace, located just off the CH&D road bed, is visible
from the roadway in the winter months. It tends to hide in the trees
during summer. It is in fair condition and does not seem to be threatened
by tree roots.
Madison Furnace, also, is located off the CH&D roadbed.
It is in good condition and can bee seen year round from the roadway.
Madison has a solid sandstone base.Jefferson Furnace is located on the
west shore of Lake Jackson. The stack is in poor condition, but does
not seem to be threatened by the elements.
Monroe Furnace has a portion of the stack and the back wall remaining.
It is located on private property and is in need of clearing out trash
which has been dumped around the site.
Cambria Furnace is located in a remote area on private land.
It is approximately one mile off the nearest roadway. The stack is
in fair condition and the stone inner liner still remains.
Washington Furnace, located at Blackfork, is in fair condition.
It has a tree growing out of the top which needs to be removed. There
is a section of a boiler leaning against the west side of the furnace.
Pioneer Furnace is located in a remote area off Brady Creek Road.
The area has been stripped for coal and other minerals. The furnace
stack is still standing but is in poor condition.
Olive Furnace, visible from State Route 93, has a unique feature
in the form of a stone arch which was used to support the boilers.
A second arch, which has fell away, was located in the rear of the furnace
and was used for the bridge loft. Olive has a solid sandstone base
and the firebrick liner still remains. The boiler arch, a part of
which has fell away, is now threatened be several large trees growing on
it. These trees need to be removed before they cause further damage.
If several trees and other foliage could be removed from the front of the
furnace, it would be visible from the highway all year. The furnace,
itself, is covered with various types of vines which could be controlled
by spraying with a herbicide. Permission would have to be obtained
from the landowner to take the necessary steps to preserve the site.
Buckhorn Furnace, located just east of State Route 93 on Buckhorn
Furnace Road, is in good condition. However, there is a large tree
growing out of the top which needs to be removed. It is my understanding
the furnace is located on public land and that the tree could be removed
by officials in control of that land.
located on Cannon's Creek Road just west of State Route 93, can be viewed
from the roadway. Over the past three years, much of the inside of
the furnace has fell in. This site is also in need of having some
trees and foliage removed from the front in order to view the site during
the summer months. It may be located on public land.
Oak Ridge Furnace is located in Aid Township, Lawrence County.
It is situated on private land and is probably in better shape that most
of the other survivors. With permission of the landowner, the site
could be cleared for better visibility from the roadway.
Vesuvius Furnace is being maintained in good condition at Vesuvius
Lake State Park.
Lagrange Furnace is located on Porter Gap Road in Lawrence County.
It is situated on private property and is in fair condition.
Other sites such as Howard Furnace and Clinton Furnace have
remnants such as back walls an/or bases.
Pine Grove and Harrison have the original company stores
still in use by the owners.
Perhaps some ideas might be generated as to how we could help to
preserve the above mentioned sites and to make them more visible to the
general public. Perhaps someone might know who owns the Olive Furnace
site and could get permission from the owner to remove the trees that threaten
the arch structure. We might want to erect signs to identify sites
near public roadways. Any other suggestions to promote interest in
the HRIR would be appreciated. Suggestions should be sent
To order Richard Leive video on the Hanging
Rock Iron Furnaces, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost of video is $40.
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